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Mouth Diseases

Recurring Sore on The Side of My Tongue

09/13/2010

Question:

I have a recurring sore on the right side of my tongue. I`ve had it on and off for years. When present it may last for a month or longer, then disappear for months, and then recur, always in the same spot. It usually starts as a whitish patch, about 1/4 inch in diameter, with an apparent pin hole in the middle. This pin hole gradually increases in size over days/weeks, becoming a red, raw looking patch surrounded by white tissue. It is quite painful as my teeth rub it, and eating various foods. My oral surgeon doesn`t think it is cancer. He had my dentist file down a sharp edge on my tooth 2 and a half weeks ago, but if anything it`s now bigger and sorer. Do you have any idea what it might be or how I might prevent it or treat it?

Answer:

Recurrence at the same location and resolution of signs and symptoms would make me think of some form of Aphthous ulceration. The cause or etiology of such lesions is debatable but most likely the result of localized immunologic disruption or immune function over expression. Stress, allergies, reaction to some medications, seasonal allergens have been implicated. Thus, your lesion may be the result of a combination of trauma (biting it) and or allergic reaction.

You have seen an Oral Surgeon, did he biopsy it? If this lesion was totally the result of trauma, then the dental adjustment should of taken care of the problem. Thus my take is that it is either an aphthous ulceration or and ulceration of “non specified origin” (Dentist way of saying I really do not know the exact cause).

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Response by:

Richard J Jurevic, DDS, PhD Richard J Jurevic, DDS, PhD
Formerly, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences
School of Dental Medicine
Case Western Reserve University